Stay Organized and Efficient: Task Batching Tips with Kristi Winfree

Jul 3, 2024 | Featured

Task Batching Helps You Work Smarter, Not Harder

Now more than ever, the real estate landscape is evolving to meet the needs of homebuyers and sellers. And transaction coordinators (TCs) are the unsung heroes behind ensuring everything runs smoothly to get both parties successfully to the closing table. They juggle multiple transactions, each with its own set of deadlines, documents, and stakeholders. It’s a role that demands precision, organization, and an almost superhuman ability to multitask.

But what if there was a way to work smarter, not harder? Enter the concept of task batching – a game-changing strategy that’s revolutionizing how TCs manage their workload.

Recently, seasoned transaction coordinator and coach Kristi Winfree shared her insights on task batching and other efficiency-boosting methods in an enlightening webinar. With years of experience under her belt, Kristi has honed a system that allows her to handle a staggering 40 transactions simultaneously while maintaining a 40-hour work week. Her secret? A combination of task batching, strategic planning, and leveraging the right tools.

At its core, task batching is about grouping similar tasks and tackling them in dedicated blocks of time. It’s a simple concept, but its impact on productivity can be profound. For TCs, this means breaking down the complex process of a real estate transaction into manageable stages. Instead of jumping from one transaction to another, handling different types of tasks for each, you focus on similar tasks across multiple transactions.

Grouping Tasks into Stages

Kristi’s approach divides a transaction into about 13 stages, from file opening to closing. Each stage has its own set of tasks, and by batching these tasks together, she says TCs can maintain focus and avoid the mental fatigue that comes from constant context switching. For example, instead of handling all aspects of transaction A before moving on to transaction B, you might spend an hour dealing with earnest money tasks for all active transactions, then move on to inspection-related tasks, and so on.

But task batching is just one piece of the puzzle. To truly master the art of transaction coordination, Kristi emphasizes the importance of a structured daily routine. Her day starts with a quick scan of emails for urgent matters and new contracts. This is followed by a review of the calendar, not just for the current day but for the next few days as well. This forward-looking approach allows TCs to anticipate needs and communicate proactively with agents, preventing a last-minute rush and missed deadlines.

After addressing any immediate concerns, Kristi dives into her daily tasks. These include following up on various transaction stages such as option money, earnest money, home warranties, and inspections. By tackling these tasks in batches, she ensures that every transaction receives attention at the right time, without getting lost in the shuffle.

Of course, in the world of real estate, no two days are exactly alike. While a structured approach is crucial, flexibility is equally important. Kristi advises TCs to set aside buffer time for unexpected tasks or urgent matters. She also emphasizes the importance of taking regular breaks and stepping away from your desk. This balance not only prevents burnout but also ensures that TCs can handle the dynamic nature of real estate transactions with grace and efficiency.

High-Impact Activities

Person task batching
Prioritize activities by level of impact

One of the key insights from Kristi’s webinar was the importance of prioritizing high-impact activities. In the TC world, these typically include managing calendar deadlines, addressing tasks that require responses from others, and ensuring compliance. By focusing on these areas, TCs can maintain control over their transactions and provide excellent service to their clients.

Compliance, in particular, is an area where many TCs struggle. It’s time-consuming, detail-oriented work that can easily become overwhelming. Kristi suggests dedicating specific days of the week to compliance tasks and grouping them by brokerage. This approach allows TCs to stay in the right mindset for each brokerage’s specific requirements, potentially streamlining the process.

Having the Right Tools Makes All the Difference

While task batching and strategic planning can significantly boost productivity, leveraging the right technology takes efficiency to a whole new level. Kristi utilizes tools like Folio for organizing emails and tracking contract timelines, Airtable as a virtual whiteboard for transaction oversight and reporting, and ListedKit as her transaction coordination software for managing checklists and email templates.

These tools not only help manage day-to-day tasks but also provide valuable insights that can help TCs refine their processes over time. For instance, Airtable’s reporting capabilities allow her to track metrics like closing rates and cancellation rates, providing a bird’s-eye view of her business performance.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of mastering task batching and efficiency is the potential for business growth. As Kristi points out, implementing efficient systems and documenting processes lays the groundwork for scaling a TC business. By creating standardized checklists, email templates, and training materials, TCs can maintain consistent service quality even as they expand their team and take on more transactions.

Kristi’s journey to efficiency wasn’t overnight. She emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement, referencing the concept from the book “Atomic Habits” that getting one percent better every day can lead to massive improvements over time. For TCs looking to implement these strategies, she advises starting small. Begin by listing out every task you do in a transaction and categorizing them into stages. Then, gradually implement task batching for one stage at a time.

It’s also crucial to document everything. As Kristi’s business grew, she created video tutorials and written processes for every aspect of her workflow. This not only helped with training new team members but also allowed her to refine her processes continually.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, task batching is more than just a productivity hack – it’s a comprehensive approach to transaction coordination that can transform how TCs manage their workload. By implementing a structured approach to daily tasks, prioritizing high-impact activities, and leveraging the right tools, TCs can increase their efficiency, provide better service to their clients, and set the stage for business growth.

Remember, improving your processes is an ongoing journey. Start small, continuously refine your methods, and don’t be afraid to adapt as you discover what works best for you and your clients. With patience, persistence, and the right strategies, you can master the art of task batching and take your transaction coordination business to new heights.

Contact Information

We’re here to help you make the most of ListedKit. If you have any questions, please reach out to hello@listedkit.com or schedule a call with our team here. We look forward to helping you streamline your transaction management processes with ListedKit.

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